Foodie Swellness: Food styling tips from Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers #SpringIntoFlavour

May 31, 2016


With sunny weather here, I’m looking forward to eating lots of fresh veggies grown locally and was excited when Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers reached out to me about a food styling session — featuring their delicious veggies, of course, to help me and you #SpringIntoFlavour!

Now, if you like me have never heard of OGVG, it’s a not-for-profit organization all tomato, pepper and cucumber growers in Ontario. So this includes the seedless cucumbers, tomatoes on the vine and red, yellow and orange peppers that I buy regularly and also mini and cocktail cucumbers, specialty peppers, beefsteak and specialty tomatoes. I especially loved to hear that the OGVG farmers are less than a day’s drive from the majority of markets they serve plus that it’s real farm families here in this province who own greenhouses that have been around for several generations.


I know I will have a whole new appreciation going forward for the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers I buy that are from OGVG. If you need a brief refresher on the health benefits and why you should include more OGVG veggies in your diet:

Tomatoes:Hello, lycopene! This antioxidant can reduce risk of some cancers and the effects of the sun’s UV rays. You’ll also get vitamins A, B6, magnesium and more.

Peppers: You probably think of citrus fruit when it comes to getting your vitamin C but peppers actually have 250 percent more C by weight. They, too, boast some of the same vitamins and minerals as tomatoes and also potassium.

Cucumbers: Hydrate your body with seedless cucumbers — they’re 90 percent water and also an excellent source of vitamin C, magnesium and silica.

Now as for how to style and take better photos of food? You have to start with great looking, unblemished veggies, of course. And a handful of the other tips from the session:


When featuring a recipe, style your photo with ingredients that have been used in the dish. Add in lifestyle elements to help create a mood or tell a story, too.

Blanch or undercook veggies to tender crisp; this little old best in photos.

Using a spray bottle filled with water and glycerin, spritz veggies so they look dewy and super fresh.

In a professional food shoot, they’ll use a stand-in plate as he shot is set up and only swap in the actual plate once they are ready to shoot (so that the best plate isn’t exposed to the lights, etc., until it is go time).

Ultimately, you’re trying to control how the food will look. So pie is amongst the hardest foods to style since it is hard to control how the crust will crumble, or how the fruit will ooze out, for example.

Use tools including inexpensive mirror card (or you can even use foil), black card, white card and even a cheap white shower to help you manipulate and create the lighting you want for your food photo.

If you’ve got a Toronto library card, you’ve got complimentary access the lots of free online photography courses on Yes. Free.

(I hope my friends are ready to hold up some foil the next time we go for dinner so I can get the best lighting for my shot! Just kidding…)

I hope these tips have been helpful to the foodies among you. The pics in this post are of the two dishes I styled while at this session, and I’ll be putting these tips and tricks to use going forward…but not to the point that I’m sacrificing taste or having a good time. I’m not shooting it for a client, after all, and ultimately it comes down to eating the delicious and nutritious tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers and enjoying a great meal with friends and family. I’m already thinking of and craving all of the simple dishes I can make using OGVG veggies such as Greek salad, bruschetta, fajitas, Pimm’s cup, stuffed peppers and more. Bon appetit!

For more about OGVG and to #springintoflavour, visit or find them on Facebook at

(This blog post was sponsored by Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers but the opinions are all my own.) 











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